Written by: Kelly Provost – The Pro’s Real Estate Team – 508-232-7926
In the first part: What is my home Worth? – Location; we discussed the most important part of a home’s value – location. Its good information to have but you can’t do anything about it. Condition is the one part of a home sale you can do something about. But you will want to make sure that anything you do to your home to increase its value will pay for itself in the end. There are also plenty of inexpensive ways to get your home into a show ready condition to drive up its value. Do not assume you know what will increase value. I have seen homeowners, time and time again, invite me over to view their property after they have done some renovations they thought would help the resale value just to find out they would have been better off putting their money and hard work into another project.
Understand, the real estate market is either a beauty contest or a price war. You don’t have to own the prettiest house on the street but it better be priced less than the prettiest house on the street if you want it to be considered by home buyers. I can tell you having the prettiest or largest house in the neighborhood isn’t beneficial for your value either. I would rather have the smallest house surrounded by larger ones as this pulls up the value of your home. If you have the biggest house surrounded by smaller older homes, this brings your value down.
As for small inexpensive updates:
- PAINTING!!! Tone it down. Paint can freshen a whole house and its only $30 a gallon plus your hard work. Painting in neutral colors allows buyers to see their own furniture in the home. In their mind it reduces the amount of work they may think they need to do when they move in. White is not a neutral color! Do not hire a painter to come in and paint every wall in your house white. You would have been better off leaving them lime green. OK maybe not lime green but nix the white. Go for a nice boring taupe with gray hues. That is the trend we are seeing in today’s market. Another note on paint: if your home is a suitable purchase for a first time home buyer keep in mind many of these buyers will be utilizing a program through the FHA. The appraisers will be looking for items that violate safety, security and sanitary requirements. The biggest flag I see is peeling paint. If you have any peeling paint- ANYWHERE in the house- from ceilings to exterior siding to basement window trim to your garage- get it scraped and painted ASAP. You do not want to have to turn away a motivated buyer who is using FHA financing.
- Smelly house!!! All homes have a distinct odor. When we live in our homes day in and day out we become immune to this scent. These scents include our cooking habits, our pets, odors we carry home from work, mold, candles, air fresheners etc… It is good idea to have someone tell you honestly what they smell when they come into the home. If you smoke, you will want to stop doing that inside the property immediately. This is the #1 turn off to a buyer. I have had buyers turn and walk straight out the door if a house smells like tobacco. Pet odor is the second largest turn off. Keep litter boxes clean and fresh and out of the main living areas. Replace pet bedding and clean the floors, have the carpets professionally steam cleaned. Food odors, avoid cooking items like fish, curry, eggs and garlic while the home is in the showing stages. These smells can last for days and the lingering odor of a nice tuna meal is not so appealing 2 days after it’s been eaten. Use air fresheners sparingly. Do not attempt to use Febreze to cover a strong odor, it just mixes in and makes for a much worse experience. Candles are good but dangerous if you are not home. New wax melting devices are a great way to get a candle scent without burning the house down. Just be sure to be consistent with the scent you choose. Pick one- apple or linen are neutral and enjoyed by most. One on each floor or in bathrooms and the kitchen is suitable. One in every room would be overwhelming.
- Staging!!! The clutter needs to go. If you are serious about moving, get packing! Pack everything you don’t need on a day to day basis. Let’s pretend you are going on a long vacation- what do you take? Now pack everything else. Once you pack it up store it out of sight. A storage unit is best. That way it doesn’t make your homes storage space look cramped. It will also make moving easier. PODS are a great way to move and store while you’re selling your home. All your personal photos should get packed up. Your closets should be half full. You counter tops should be almost bare. Your Realtor should have some training and expertise in staging or they should recommend a professional stager. This person will come in and help place the remaining items in your house so that the flow is open, spacious and bright. Keep in mind; we all have our own personal taste- the idea of staging is not to insult your likes and interests but to appeal to a general audience. We want the buyer to see themselves living in the home. We want them to mentally move in. A well-staged house does this nicely.
Condition of a home is important to the value of a home. There are many factors to pricing accordingly based on your homes individual condition. Most agents will give some info as I did above but you will need to hire them and sign a contract to get the full scope of their advice. We are happy to do an in home consultation and give you a general idea of value. If you want to get a honey-do list from us you will need to employ our services. Other issues we many need to address are:
- System age and functionality
- Roof condition
- Basement moisture and dampness
- Minor repairs- flooring, walls, carpet, doors, glass
- Lead paint
- Fireplace issues including pellet and wood burning stoves
- Kitchens and so much more….
Just Call the Pros for your own individual analysis and consultation. Even if you are just considering selling your home and not ready to get it on the market, we highly recommend speaking with us about the work you think you should do before spending a dime on it. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money on renovations you didn’t need to do.